Country Listing

Nicaragua Table of Contents



As of 1993, the army's strength was estimated at 13,500 personnel. The EPS is organized into six regional commands and two military departments subordinate to the general staff. The largest unit is a motorized infantry brigade of four battalions. In addition, there are a mechanized infantry battalion and three artillery battalions. The Irregular Warfare Battalions have been reduced to ten infantry companies. A Special Forces battalion has been formed from airborne and Special Forces personnel. Most of these units are neither fully staffed nor adequately equipped.

The army continues to depend on Soviet weapons delivered during the 1980s. Most of these are out-of-date and poorly maintained. The EPS's inventory of armor--heavy and light tanks, APCs, and reconnaissance vehicles--remains large by Central American standards. However, most of the Soviet T-55 tanks are reportedly in storage because of a lack of funds and personnel to maintain them. The PT-76 light tanks form the primary armor of the mechanized infantry battalion. Only about seventy-five APCs and reconnaissance vehicles are operational, and some of the armored weapons have been sold to other Latin American countries.

The army retains a considerable supply of 122mm and 152mm towed artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers. Twelve of its APCs are mounted with Soviet AT-3 (Sagger) antitank guided missiles. The army retains numerous antitank guns and a stock of Soviet shoulder-fired antiaircraft missile launchers (see Table 12, Major Items of Military Equipment, 1993).

Data as of December 1993